McDOWELL Co., NC (WSPA) — Two people were rescued Tuesday night after a mudslide pushed a dump truck into a McDowell County river.
The N.C. Department of Transportation say two workers managed to climb out of the truck through a passenger window and waited several minutes in the rushing water after a mudslide pushed the truck into the Catawba River.
NCDOT spokesman David Uchiyama said the men were moving mud from one mudslide when another pushed the 33,000-pound truck and both men into the river.
Uchiyama says the river was about 10 feet deep at the time. The truck landed on the driver’s side and was pushed more than 1,000 feet downstream.
The workers crawled out of the passenger side and waited on the truck until firefighters arrived a short time later and pulled the men to safety.
Uchiyama says neither man was injured and both followed training they received for emergency situations.
The NCDOT said in a tweet that the rescue illustrates the seriousness of flooding in western North Carolina and urged people to avoid flood areas.
Heavy rains wreaked havoc in the area.
Emergency officials declared a state of emergency in McDowell County amid flooding and landslides.
About 200 people took shelter following a mandatory evacuation that has since been lifted.
Mudslides also closed several major roads in the county.
As of Wednesday, the dump truck remains in the Catawba River.